I have found through my professional life that there are broadly two types of experts. The first type say a lot but don’t actually practice what they preach. The second are the true practitioners of their trade, the ones who can offer genuine insights into how they have solved problems. The best type of the latter expert is one who is also prepared to share that information.
These social experts, who believe that IBM offers the best and most compelling offering to deliver the kind of benefits they evangelise met in Amsterdam this week at Social Connections IV.
This self-funded event, which is offered free to the attendees and is paid for through generous sponsorships by vendors and partners (including IBM) who want to encourage a flourishing user group where customers, experts and partners can mix in a social environment and share from each others experiences.
The presenters, the social experts, offer their knowledge free of charge. Their presentations are recorded and offered free of charge to everyone (not just the attendees). The value of attending is the opportunity to meet at first hand those people who blog, tweet and support social business and social collaboration because they care about it.
The Social Connections Event is the epitome of what social collaboration is about. It encourages everyone to freely share and as a result everyone benefits. The value is in the sharing and participating. It harnesses my equation:
Desire to share x social collaboration = explicit knowledge + business intelligence
The 200-or-so people who came to Amsterdam this week brought the desire to share and participated in social collaboration. The results they have gone home with is explicit knowledge about how to solve specific problems they have. The intelligence their business’s have gained has been expert strategic insight on how social collaboration can positively affect their business.
People came from seventeen different countries from as far afield as Australia, USA and all over Europe. That’s a testament to the level of engagement the community drives and the enthusiasm these people have to make something great.
The people who organised the event are amateur event organisers, all with day jobs, all learning how this is done through the school of hard knocks. The event was fantastically well organised (particular thanks to Femke Goedhart, @femkegoedhart), was run with military precision, and above all was fun and informative. Well done too to Stuart McIntyre (@stuartmcintyre), Sharon Bellamy (@socialshazza) and to the sponsors and IBM Netherlands for their generous support. The people involved don’t profit from the event, other than by learning and sharing from the attendees.
So, as an attendee, I am thoroughly looking forward to the next Social Connections. This time in New York in June 2013.
This is an “unofficial” blog post by me as an attendee. I have not been asked to post it by the organisers but instead felt that it was such a good event I should share my experience. After all, your value comes from what you share, not what you know.